What to Know If You’re Planning a Solo Vacation to Jamaica, According to Experts
I find myself thinking about the island of Jamaica often. My mind will drift off at the thought of locals arriving from the airport, driving through the small towns filled with people going about their days. Despite the many times I have traveled to Jamaica, my last trip gave me a glimpse into the island through a different lens — a secluded paradise I didn’t know existed. My previous visits were to the usual haunts of Negril, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios, but this time was different — I took a trip to the south coast to a quiet respite called Bluefields Bay.
At a time when there was great turmoil in my life, Bluefields Bay offered me peace. I stayed in a four-bedroom cottage at the namesake private villa property, and the staff ensured that every need was well taken care of.
Despite the numerous solo trips I had taken in the past, I was a bit hesitant about coming here alone because I would be completely isolated. It was just me amidst the beautiful greenery with uninterrupted views of the ocean against the horizon.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted travel for most people worldwide, with many countries only beginning to relax restrictions for international travel. Jamaica, for example, opened to tourists in June, and those feeling cooped up at home might be temped to book a solo vacation to the Caribbean destination. It's worth noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still suggests staying home for your own safety as well as for others.
However, for those who are still planning a trip to Jamaica, there are some precautions to keep in mind. “While planning your trip, research what precautions your hotel or resort has in place,” Dr. Nadeen White, physician and travel blogger for The Sophisticated Life, told Travel + Leisure in an email. “Have their cleaning policies changed? Are masks required for staff and guests on the property? What screening procedures are in place for staff and guests? Is social distancing being practiced at restaurants and facilities such as pools and gyms? Are there hand sanitizer stations on the property?”
Travelers should also keep in mind the current restrictions in place for travel. “Due to an increase in the number of cases [in Jamaica], there is an overnight curfew and limitation on gatherings to 20 people through September” said Dr. White. “Masks are also required in public places. These restrictions may change, so it's important to stay up to date prior to your travel dates.”
“Bring some basic cleaning supplies to clean high-touch areas in your room,” she added. “In addition, if you are staying in a rental property, consider bringing your sheets and towels…The three most important things you can do on your trip to Jamaica: Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer, and practice social distancing.”
As some begin to venture out as different countries begin to open their international borders, health experts also recommend secluded hotel stays where you won’t be around too many people. Properties like the Bluefields Bay Villas offer visitors a chance to enjoy a solo vacation without encountering major crowds on-site.
“Visitors to [Bluefields Bay Villas] get a private villa, so they will be able to act as if they are in their own homes,” Houston Moncure, managing director of Bluefields Bay Villas, told T+L in an email. “The best thing visitors can do to enjoy their vacation is to be very careful and limit their exposure to others after they have taken their COVID-19 test…We are determined to make sure our visitors feel like they are in paradise. It’s our responsibility to make sure this is as safe for them and us as possible.”